British Tourists in Jamaica Warned to Stay in Resorts After Shootings Lead to State of Emergency

Montego Bay, popular tourist destination in Jamaica.

British tourists have been told to stay in their resorts in Montego Bay in Jamaica after a spate of deadly shootings.

A state of emergency has been declared with soldiers deployed on the streets in what has been described as a “major military operation”.

The country’s prime minister Andrew Holness said “crime and violence, in particular murders” had been escalating in the parish of St James.

Jamaican PM Andrew Holness announces the state of emergency

The UK Government has told Britons to stay in the confines of their hotels as a “major” military operation takes place in St James Parish, which includes Montego Bay.

The Foreign Office said: “You should limit your movements outside of resorts in the area at this time, and exercise particular care if travelling at night.

“Travel to and from the airport or for excursions should be undertaken with organised tour operators, and transport should be arranged or provided by the resort hotels.”

Last year, there were 335 murders recorded in St James, which includes the popular tourist town of Montego Bay – twice the number of any other parish.

Calling the level of criminal activity “continued and threatened”, Mr Holness said his security forces had advised him it was “of such a nature and so extensive in scale as to endanger public safety”.

The state of emergency gives officers additional powers, allowing them to search and detain without a warrant and shut down businesses.

A curfew has been imposed in both St James and St Catherine parish, west of the capital of Kingston.

Vehicles coming in and out of the area will also be searched.

Security minister Robert Montaque assured that security forces will only be targeting criminals, and appealed to people for information.

He said: “We need your full co-operation in moving forward in restoring peace and order so that the good people can continue to contribute to the well-being of Jamaica”.

Around 206,000 British nationals visited Jamaica in 2016.

 

Officials blame the recent rise in crime on gangs and lottery scams.

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